HUMAN RIGHTS: No Safe Haven: Universal Jurisdiction Trumps Impunity


Judge Baltasar Garzón provides an impassioned defense of the principle of universal jurisdiction.

Since 1998, when he issued an arrest warrant for former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet under the controversial legal theory of universal jurisdiction, the Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón has been an influential figure in international human rights circles. In the ensuing years, he has continued to champion accountability for serious international crimes, such as crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture. In 2008, Garzón tried to bring accountability home, ordering an investigation into Franco-era human rights violations in defiance of Spanish amnesty laws, an act that led to his suspension and indictment for abuse of judicial power. During his visit to UC Berkeley’s Center for Latin American Studies, Garzón discussed current developments and challenges in international justice, including universal jurisdiction, the International Criminal Court (ICC), and the future of international accountability, in light of recent political developments in the Arab world and elsewhere.

Krystel Abi Habib
Celeste Kauffman
Publication date: 
January 11, 2011
Publication type: 
Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies Article